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Sound Card: Would this sound card be a bad purchase to make?

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http://www.walmart.com/ip/Startech-7.1-USB-Audio-Adapter-External-Sound-Card-with-SPDIF-Digital-Audio/14291558

I am in need of an external USB soundcard because I can hardly work with my DAW on my laptop without audio buffering. I know getting an external sound card and then routing my DAW exclusively through that would be very useful, but the question is, would this specific card be a bad purchase in the long run?

My laptop is an Acer Aspire, running Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit, with an AMD Dual-Core E-350, AMD Radeon HD 6310, and 4GB DDR3 memory.

I guess my main concern is, would this be a bad purchase price vs quality (should I buy it or save money for a more expensive one that will probably last longer)?

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I've never heard of the brand, and it looks like it's geared toward home entertainment rather than prosumer audio work. This being the case, I'd be a little concerned about the quality of the drivers. Caveat emptor, I suppose.

EDIT: And the mic inputs are 3.5 mm jacks. Usually you have 1/4" or XLR on interfaces that are actually designed to do professional-level recording.

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http://www.walmart.com/ip/Startech-7.1-USB-Audio-Adapter-External-Sound-Card-with-SPDIF-Digital-Audio/14291558

I am in need of an external USB soundcard because I can hardly work with my DAW on my laptop without audio buffering. I know getting an external sound card and then routing my DAW exclusively through that would be very useful, but the question is, would this specific card be a bad purchase in the long run?

My laptop is an Acer Aspire, running Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit, with an AMD Dual-Core E-350, AMD Radeon HD 6310, and 4GB DDR3 memory.

I guess my main concern is, would this be a bad purchase price vs quality (should I buy it or save money for a more expensive one that will probably last longer)?

To be honest, I'm not sure if that card would perform any better than the one you've already got on your laptop.

I would save up.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Scarlett2i2/

You're probably not going to get a performing USB audio device for much less than $150 (maybe used, for less, check ebay/craigslist/etc).

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A sound card isn't going to make your processing go any smoother. Your processor is pathetic, and you need a better computer.

Save up your money for something that can hold its own.

Without saying it quite so, er, bluntly, this is pretty true. Your ability to avoid heavy amounts of buffering will be reliant, for the most part, on your CPU, and a very low-end AMD laptop chip is going to really, REALLY hurt you. An external soundcard will be a waste of money if all you're looking for is buffer relief. It's not a bad investment, but it's definitely not going to solve that particular problem.

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To clarify, a sound card is not "like a video card, but for sound." That's a misconception.

The purpose of a sound card is primarily good D/A conversion and desired I/O, and onboard DSP effects if it's real expensive/special.

It does not however, have beefy parallel sound processing cores to ease up what happens in your DAW. There's no "nSoundia PhysX" to make acoustic modelling easier or doing two cards in SLI to process more audio data.

They're very different things, and while upgrading your graphics card intensely ups gaming performance, upgrading your sound card does NOT up your audio processing performance NEARLY as much (maybe 1/1000th as much of an improvement).

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ok, thanks anyway.

I was kind of afraid that this might be the case. At least I know now that I have to save a whole lot more money to get a music computer now. Maybe I'll have a talk with Brad about getting one made for me.

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To clarify, a sound card is not "like a video card, but for sound." That's a misconception.

The purpose of a sound card is primarily good D/A conversion and desired I/O, and onboard DSP effects if it's real expensive/special.

It does not however, have beefy parallel sound processing cores to ease up what happens in your DAW. There's no "nSoundia PhysX" to make acoustic modelling easier or doing two cards in SLI to process more audio data.

They're very different things, and while upgrading your graphics card intensely ups gaming performance, upgrading your sound card does NOT up your audio processing performance NEARLY as much (maybe 1/1000th as much of an improvement).

Actually, in some ways, while not general, the ProTools HD cards and the Universal Audio cards do provide offload processing for hundreds if not thousands of audio effects.

Furthermore, the performance of your audio drivers and the ability and options available to you with regards to buffering is audio device dependent.

Additionally, your ability to operate DAW sessions at different samplerates is also audio device dependent.

Basically, sampling and audio buffering are a component of the IO services provided by your audio device and they are factors in performance.

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Actually, in some ways, while not general, the ProTools HD cards and the Universal Audio cards do provide offload processing for hundreds if not thousands of audio effects.

I'm not talking about really expensive DSP Cards here.

Basically, sampling and audio buffering are a component of the IO services provided by your audio device and they are factors in performance.

I didn't say they were not, I was saying they are negligible compared to the effect of upgrading a video card.

You can not magically make your AMD dual core laptop handle more instruments and effects by buying a sound card without spending tons of money on one that has DSP, and even then that's only for effects.

If you were going to actually spend that kind of money on a UAD because your processing performance was bad, you should realize that maybe that money should be put to a decent computer instead. Goes a long way and is a much more sound investment.

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Yes, but if you have an audio device which does not natively support ASIO or does not allow you to control your buffer settings, you could see an instant performance boost on DAW sessions large enough to cause stuttering and pops.

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Yes, but if you have an audio device which does not natively support ASIO or does not allow you to control your buffer settings, you could see an instant performance boost on DAW sessions large enough to cause stuttering and pops.

I guess it depends on your preference for either a quick slapped-on bandage or a complete obliteration of the issue. The former is understandable if you don't have much money, but I don't think anyone should make guarantees it's gonna solve the problem.

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I never guaranteed anything.

The OP asked if that was an appropriate purchase "in the long run."

The OP specifically stated that s/he was having issues with Audio Buffering.

I made an alternative suggestion which satisfied the need for an audio device, which fell within the scope of the OP's current dilemma.

It's important to be accurate in your responses and while there is a lot of good advice to be found in this community, there's also a lot of misinformation or partially accurate suggestions given. With respect to the community, most of us are self-taught, but all that means is accuracy is all the more relevant to the conversation.

A professional level audio device will provide, at the very least, more flexible audio buffering options which can increase session performance.

Adjusting your audio buffer is one of the simplest (and goto) means of balancing audio throughput against session I/O latency.

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